Round 3 of the Asia Talent Cup saw Sho Nishimura claim the Race 1 win from Afridza Munandar and Takuma Matsuyama, with young Aussies Harrison Voight 13th, Luke Power 16th and Jacob Roulstone 18th.
In Race 2 it was Afridza Munandar who claimed the race win from Adenanta Putra and Warit Thongnoppakun. Harrison Voight took fourth, with Jacob Roulstone inside the top 10 in ninth, and Luke Power 11th.
Asia Talent Cup Race 1
Sho Nishimura has extended his lead in the standings after a dramatic Race 1 at Sepang International Circuit, with the first showdown of the weekend cut short by a Red Flag after a mutliple-rider incident with five laps to go. Indonesian Afridza Munandar and Japanese rider Takuma Matsuyama, who remains second in the Championship, completed the podium.
It was Shoki Igarashi who took the holeshot from third on the grid, slotting into the lead ahead of Matsuyama as polesitter Nishimura lost out slightly off the line. But it wouldn’t stay that way for long as the number 11 machine of Matsuyama soon attacked and took the lead, initially then pushing to try and break away but Nishimura able to pull him back in. And so it became a group of four fighting at the front, with Munandar up in the mix.
Warit Thongnoppakun was on the chase, however, with the Thai rider managing to chip away at the gap and join the foursome in the lead. Could he get into a podium position and take his second rostrum finish? As it transpired, he wouldn’t get the chance as some serious drama was about to hit the second group.
A multiple-rider crash saw Hildhan Kusuma, Adenanta Putra, Tatchakorn Buasri and Abdul Mutaqim all go down, and soon after the Red Flag was shown, bringing the race to an early end. That meant that last time over the line decided the winner – and it had been close. By an infinitesimal 0.060 the win goes to Nishimura, with the Japanese rider just ahead of Munandar, and Matsuyama completes the podium. Thongnoppakun and Igarashi complete the top five.
Because the results are taken from the last time over the line, it’s Putra classified sixth, ahead of home hero Syarifuddin Azman as the Malaysian put in a top performance on home turf. Herjun Firdaus takes P8, with Hildhan Kusuma and Piyawat Patoomyos completing the top ten.
Buasri and Mutaqim were 11th and 12th and the last two in a tight freight train of seven riders within a few tenths before the key incident. Riders were all ‘ok’ after the crash, although Buasri and Mutaqim were sent for further checks.
Australian Harrison Voight took P13 and some points after a top qualifying, with Ryosuke Bando and second Malaysian Idil Mahadi completing the scorers.
Asia Talent Cup Race 1 Results
Sho Nishimura 18’42.072
Afridza Munandar +0.060
Takuma Matsuyama +0.289
Warit Thongnoppakun +0.544
Shoki Igarashi +0.962
Adenanta Putra +5.506
Syarifuddin Azman +5.552
Herjun Firdaus +5.789
Hildhan Kusuma +5.928
Piyawat Patoomyos +6.159
Tatchakorn Buasri +6.247
Abdul Mutaqim +6.376
Harrison Voight +8.161
Ryosuke Bando +15.990
Muhammad Idil Fitri Bin Mahadi +19.981
Luke Power +23.609
Rei Wakamatsu +23.858
Jacob Roulstone +23.828
Kadir Erbay +51.360
Asia Talent Cup Race 2
Afridza Munandar took a commending second win of the season at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, staying clear of a chaotic fight at the front in the final laps to take home 25 points and take over second in the standings. Compatriot Adenanta Putra followed him home, with Thai rider Warit Thongnoppakun taking his second rostrum of the finish in third after escaping some final corner drama.
Sho Nishimura took the holeshot from pole, but Takuma Matsuyama was quick to attack back and the two headed up a five-rider fight at the front, with Thongnoppakun, Shoki Igarashi and Adenanta Putra in the mix. There was a small gap back to Tatchakorn Buasri on the chase, and eventual winner Afridza Munandar was soon challenging too.
With Matsuyama streaking away at the front, it was Munandar who sliced through to start reeling the number 11 in with a show of intent and he did just that; the freight train at the front then appearing again and 12 riders within 1.8 seconds.
With eight laps to go, big drama hit for Matsuyama. Running off and then making contact with another rider on track, the number 11 fell from the front fight and the initial pacesetter was out. That left Munandar in the lead at the front of the group, with Nishimura in second and home hero Syarifuddin Azman having sliced through into third.
As the group kept chopping and changing and the laps ticked down, however, it was Thongnoppakun who managed to escape the melee to stay with Munandar and the duo began to pull away. Heading onto the final lap, the Indonesian had half a second in his pocket and that would prove a crucial gap.
Although those behind managed to close in, no one could attack Munandar into the final corner – and the final corner was where the attack happened. Azman, gunning for a home podium, tried a move on Nishimura but the Malaysian tagged the back of the Japanese rider, taking them both down and out of podium contention.
Munandar crossed the line in clear air, Thongnoppakun was able to avoid the drama and, despite losing time, made his way back on track to gun it to the line – but he was beaten to it as Adenanta Putra pipped him to the post, the podium decided in dramatic fashion.
Harrison Voight took his best finish yet in fourth after a good weekend for the Australian, ahead of Hildhan Kusuma who completed the top five. Tatchakorn Buasri took P6 ahead of Piyawat Patoomyos, with Abdul Mutaqim crossing the line in eighth.
Jacob Roulstone headed the next group and beat home hero Idil Mahadi to ninth, with Luke Power, Rei Wakamatsu, Kadir Erbay and wildcard Shinji Ogo completing the finishers. Igarashi and Herjun Firdaus suffered DNFs.
It’s a long wait for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup until the next round alongside MotoGP at Buriram now, but it’s still Sho Nishimura who leads the way despite Day 2 at Sepang not going his way. Who will be strongest when the field return to the fray? Find out in October.
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